The Hillman Group

Industry: Industrial Distribution
Initial Ownership:
Date of Initial Equity Investment:
September 2001
Date of Exit:
March 2004

Business Description: The Hillman Companies, Inc. (“Hillman” or the “Company”) is a leading distributor of fasteners, key blanks, letters, numbers, signs and other related hardware items. Hillman also provides value-added merchandise managing services such as reviewing and replenishing stock levels. Hillman’s customers include traditional hardware stores, national and regional home centers and mass-market retailers, including Home Depot, K-Mart, Lowe’s, PetSmart and Wal-Mart.


Investment Thesis: Hillman’s distribution business was a market leader in a niche business of managing, stocking and merchandising hardware aisles of many retailers. The Company also benefited from:

  • High value-added service offering for retailers
  • Strong, long-standing customer relationships
  • A deep and seasoned management team
  • Strong free cash-flow characteristics – high RONA
  • Good growth prospects through strategic add-on acquisitions


Investment Highlights: The deal team helped drive growth and create value in Hillman by providing both capital and financial expertise, leading to: (i) the completion of two important add-on acquisitions; (ii) the building of a new state-of-the-art distribution facility; and (iii) a reduction in overhead by over $3 million that increased efficiency within the organization. In March 2004, the company was sold to Code Hennessy & Simmons.

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